How to Build your Professional Brand

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Whether you are on a job hunt, a student, or a veteran within the field, it is always important to think, act, network, and plan like a business leader. With the surge and popularity of social media and the wide range of competition within the job market, it is absolutely imperative that you establish a strong presence with your professional relationship.

When it comes to your personal and professional brand, it is all about who you are and what you want to be known for. In the grand scheme of things, it is your ever-lasting professional legacy. While the overall topic can be pretty broad, you want to make sure you cultivate a strong foundation that highlights your overall work ethics, beliefs, and personal and professional experiences.

To do this, you need to start with a simple question: What is your theme? With many college graduates leaving their alma mater with different majors and unique backgrounds, you want to make sure you create a story of self that is representative of the jobs and careers you want to be involved with. Having that professional theme will allow you to shape your resume and social presence in a more optimal manner. Take for example two candidates coming out with their perspective colleges, one with a finance degree and the other with an engineering degree. While they can, in turn, end up at the same company, their overall layout of their resume will differ greatly. For the finance candidate, they want to make sure their resume highlights their knowledge and skillsets. Having ‘Camp Counselor’ as an example may not be the best thing to showcase their leadership. Instead, various executive positions from clubs and extracurricular activities can highlight their leadership skills along with their classes and knowledge. In comparison, the engineering candidate may want to focus more on their academic background and various positions that meet their criteria. Jobs that deal within their field is essentially the best bang for their buck than applying for a finance or accounting job at any of the big financial firms in New York City. Whatever is the case, play to your strengths and the only way to do that is by establishing that professional theme.  

Once you have a theme in mind, it will be your job to create a story out of it. I call this the story of self. For many hiring managers and recruiters, they are looking for strong candidates that can answer the questions of ‘why this company’ or ‘why this position.’ For this to happen, you want to make sure you are able to connect the dots with your previous positions. Even if the positions differ greatly such as an education background and marketing, you want to think of various ways in which you can incorporate your theme throughout each position. To do this effectively, try thinking of specific transferable skills. This can be some related to leadership, organization, management, public speaking, customer and client communication, etc. Knowing those skills and the strengths that you have adopted from each position will give you that leg up over the other competing candidates when developing your professional brand.

After you have crafted that story, reflect again on your personal and professional strengths and weaknesses. Many hiring managers will look to ask about this and will want an answer. For your professional brand, it is important to have a strong grasp on your holistic strengths and weaknesses. By understanding and internalizing what you can and cannot do, you will be able to discuss what you can do for said company and what they can do for you. Remember, growth should always be a part of your story. Companies want to know that they can add value to your resume as much as you add value to theirs.

Once that is all done and said, begin thinking about the various fields, positions, and companies that match your vision and goals. If you know you want to get into marketing, think of the specific marketing companies such as Coca Cola or Nestle and why they intrigue you. Then go back to your resume and determine how you can connect the dots; the strong the connection, the better.

Now, before you apply, you want to make sure you have a strong presence both online and in-person. I’ll speak more about online since in-person will deal more with the interview stages. With the world moving more around the value and presence of the Internet, you want to make sure you are taking full advantage of what is at your disposal. This brings us to the social media platform LinkedIn. With your LinkedIn account, make sure you fill out all of the information. Think of this as an extended resume. The only difference is that you are not limited to the one-page limitations that a resume holds for applications. Fill out your work experience and be sure to highlight your successes within each position. Remember to go into this process with your theme in mind. Think of your main goal and where you want to be. This may make the difference in whether or not you will land that interview or even that position.

Now you are ready to apply. The process will be long and incredibly taxing. But by preparing your professional brand in this manner, you will be one step ahead of those other individuals who are fighting the good fight for that dream position.

The Importance of Balance between Work and your Social Life

Various experts worldwide have resoundingly agreed that it is important to maintain a balance between your work life and your social life. For many college graduates and millennials entering the workforce, they tend to make the mistake of overworking themselves beyond the societal norm. While it is great to assume that  ‘go-getter, first to enter last to leave’ mentality, it is imperative for you to understand the dangers that come with this level of work. Now I am not saying that you should not work hard. Investing in your job and your company is incredibly beneficial in shaping your overall career and professional development. But to overdo this can lead to physical and emotional damages.

One of the more popular negative damages many companies and hiring managers are seeing, especially amongst millennials, is the high burn out rate amongst employees. At any job, the position and responsibilities will always be new. Unlike college where you have various breaks in between classes and clubs, corporate, private, and startup culture will always demand more from you. Those senses of responsibilities can eventually lead to self-doubt and stress. But as much as I can fluff around the responsibilities and objective of the workplace, I have to be realistic. Work will always be stressful. There will be times where you will be overwhelmed to a point where you are unable to concentrate at the task at hand. To prevent this from becoming a problem, you need to, of course, gain the much-needed confidence at the office so that you can perform at your best. While some people think this requires more work, this confidence can actually come about through just a simple work-life balance.

Now, finding a healthy balance between your work and your social life is not always easy. There will be days where you will be required to stay late at the office or you will be asked to work weekends answering emails. While those days will come, it is important for you to create and establish a strong and healthy balance between your work and social life. To do this, begin by organizing your calendar. Organization will always be key to this level of balance. Make sure you fill out your schedule in its entirety. This will help you iron out any logistics and provide a stronger sense of open slots and times where you can use for yourself.

As for your social life, keep this one simple idea in mind: stay active. For many millennials, they burn out from work because their life schedule becomes clockwork where it looks something like this:

 

  • Work => Drive home => Watch television => Sleep => Work again

For anyone, this type of lifestyle is simply not sustainable. To prevent you from diving into that cycle, try to join various extracurricular activity groups. Think of any hobbies or interest groups that you enjoy and try and find various meet ups through Google or word of mouth. In addition, look into joining a gym or any extracurricular sports club. The more socially active you are the better. Lastly, to truly ease your mind and refresh your batteries, try planning a weekend or week trip. This will help ease your mind and prevent you from over-stressing about the workplace.

How to Stand Out at Work

In the workplace, your average American is not simply looking to do the norm. Instead, many of these young professionals are looking to go above and beyond the day-to-day operations in order to propel them in a more favorable position. As much as we can attribute the idea of success to their personal and professional goals, many young professionals are trending to this gung-ho work mentality because of the fear of being labeled ‘average.’  

For me, personally, the idea of being labeled ‘average’ or ‘fine’ is not just hurtful, but frankly quite insulting. Yes, you are seen as an individual who can handle the day-to-day operations within the workweek. But to be associated with such a phrase implies a sense of mediocre work and indifferent attitude and work ethics. This phrase not only speaks to your professional abilities at the office, but also overshadows your opportunities to stand out as a leader and game changer.

In order for you to change any preconceived notions as an ‘average’ worker, it is imperative you internalize your strengths and professional goals for your job. Having those in mind will allow you to leverage any opportunity where you can stand out amongst the crowd.

To begin, make sure you know how to do your job and how to do it well. This will allow you to brand your professional skill-sets within the office in a positive light. Now as much as doing a strong job at your position can gain you praise and recognition, you want to understand that standing out as a leader takes more than the standard work responsibilities. To help you stand out at work, try and assume new obligations within your company. Even if these leadership opportunities are limited, try and ask your manager or supervisor for more responsibilities. For many managers, they recognize individuals who are willing to go above and beyond their daily task to help the overall betterment of the company. This can even lead to new and exciting opportunities when it comes to management.

One way to do this is by offering new and innovative ideas and suggestions. Start with what you know. The build upon that with how things can be done more effectively. For many workers, these suggestions can be a huge game changer in how they approach the job in a more optimal manner.

While it may be daunting to put yourself out there, it is absolutely vital if you want to grow and develop within your company year after year. For meetings, try not to sit quietly. Instead, contribute to the conversation on a higher level. Even highlight some of the work you have done with customers and clients that has led to a higher success. Remember, leaders are not silent in meetings. Be purposeful with your listening and act and speak out when need be. In addition, make sure you try and add value. The worst thing you can do for yourself is to repeat or rehash something that has already been said before. The more value you can add to the team the better.

Now, when it comes to your team, do not be afraid to offer help and advice, especially to new workers. You have already developed a strong reputation from the work you have done, even if you are just a few months into the job. This will allow you to develop that ‘go to’ reliable personality that can help elevate you at your company.

Last but not least, you want to make sure you are proactive. Whether it is a new project or an anticipated problem, make sure you are the person your manager and workers can entrust in you. This will allow you to become more a part of the company and diversify yourself from the herd.

How to Email Efficiently and Effectively

Email is a widely used tool for business communication. However, because of its overpopulated use, it has caused some tension, confusion, and other negative consequences for many professionals within their careers.

So how do you avoid sending unwanted or unwarranted emails? What is the most effective and efficient way possible to write a professional email that can get the results you want?

In this article, I will go over a variety of strategies that can help ensure that your email is clear, effective and successful. At the end of the day, an average office worker will receive around 15 to 50+ emails each day from administrators, coworkers, and clients. With this amount of volume, you want to make sure your email gets noticed and acted upon so that you can continue with the day-to-day operations at your workplace.

To begin, you want to make sure you are not over communicating by email. As effective as emails are, you want to make sure that the particular person or people receiving this email are not thinking to delete the conversation from their history. To avoid this, make sure you are being simple and precise. Be sure to highlight all of the information without going too in-depth with the content. The worst thing you can do is sending an overcomplicated email that is just rushed through by your receiver. At times, you may even want to consider calling that person to simply explain the overall situation than to send a 500+-worded email.

Now to of course help get your email noticed by your receiver, you want to make sure you are making good use of the ‘subject lines.’ Think of this as a head-title or text feature that can grab the attention of your audience. Overly worded subject lines or one to two worded titles can be overlooked or rejected as spam. Instead, choose a few well-integrated words that can tell the recipient what the email is about. If you know that this is something important, make sure you note it in your subject line along with a date for said-task to be done. For example, if you have an email that simply says ‘meeting’ or ‘assignment’ this can be clicked on very quickly and breezed through. Instead, you want to specify what the meeting is about like ‘Contract Meeting with John Smith, submit at the end of the day.’ Having that type of title provides a holistic understanding of what your recipient should accomplish with your message.

With the actual email itself, you want to make sure you are following the traditional business letter format. As much as you want to stay professional, do not over complicate your emails with jargon words. While it may highlight your professionalism, you want to make sure your message is clear and concise. Any type of confusion could compromise the overall success of the email. In addition, you also want to tailor your writing to the person you are communicating with. For example, if you are sending an email to a client or an administrator, make sure you are framing your message in a professional manner. In comparison, if your email is a nontraditional email to a coworker or friend, be sure to stay personal. The main idea here is to internalize the topic and theme you want to correspond with in order to get your point across.

Now, there will be times where emailing can be taxing and downright stressful. Whatever is the case, make sure you are polite. People often think that emails can be less formal than traditional letters. But in the world of business, you want to reflect your own professionalism, values, and attention to detail. Stay formal and professional. Even towards the ending; make sure you close your message with ‘regards’ or ‘all the best’ depending on the situation.

Last but not least, make sure you proofread the entire message before you hit ‘send.’ Taking an extra five-minutes to make sure your email does not have spelling or grammar mistakes can be a huge game changer for how your peers and clients look at you.

How you can Professionally Improve your Customer Service Skills

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Whether you are working for a private business or a nonprofit organization, effective communication will always play an integral role in your overall success at your company. At the end of the day, it is no secret that many hiring managers and recruiters are looking for qualified candidates that are already equipped with strong verbal and nonverbal communication skills. The reason why is that during the day-to-day operations within the office, you will be required to constantly communicate across a wide range of departments. While many companies will invest a large amount of their time, money, and resources into strong and viable communication, it is imperative that you reflect and internalize your own personal strengths and weaknesses with this overall skill. This type of reflective mentality will allow you to identify your own personal and professional flaws that you can alter to be a more confident and effective worker at your office. Remember, rock stars are not born; they are made. All you need to do is take that first step and the rest will come to you.

Now, for this particular editorial, I would like to speak more loudly on improving the customer service communication than internal communication within the office. If you would like to learn more about how to effectively communicate as manager or supervisor, you can visit my previous blog here: Scott Storick, Managerial Communication.

When we talk about client communication and customer services, we are initially talking about confidence and control. For this to be translated appropriately, you have to of course gauge the overall perspective of the client. Remember, good communication is about putting yourself in the position of your clients. Don’t be afraid to ask those overarching questions like: Why do they want to talk? What are they interested in talking about? Is this going to be a delightful experience or an absolute nightmare? By evaluating the overall situation in a holistic manner, you will be able to better prepare your side with the necessary information and tools your client or customer will want to hear. The worst thing you want to do to yourself is find yourself blindsided with various questions about numbers and progress and not having a strong and sufficient answer to back up your claims.

Now during the course of conference calls and emails, you want to make sure you are providing a sufficient amount of information to the table. Much of my advice to clients is based on being informed, and for good reason. All of us gravitate toward that one person who always seems to have the answer. It is that idea of being one step ahead of the game that gives the person you are talking to the necessary reassurance and trust that you are working with them than with their money. One of the things I like to do is of course provide some engagement task with my own personal clients. This type of information not only challenges your clients to think, but also have them explore new intellectual territory. By establishing that type of conversation, you will be able to ultimately build that much need trust for your future relationship with that person.

Now during this process, as much as you want to take control of the situation, you also want to be attentive and observant to their needs. For many of these calls, your client will contact you because of a misunderstanding within the contract or a miscommunication with the number of products delivered. My advice is simple; just listen. Humanizing many of your calls can help diminish any negative emotions coming into these customer service meetings. It will also give you a chance to control the situation even if you do not have the answer. For many of these cases, customers and clients just want to vent their frustration. Once that is all said and done, you are able to provide them with the necessary information to move forward into a better place.

The last piece of advice is more to do with you than anything. Be confident in your own personal abilities. At the end of the day, you are the expert on the call. If you weren’t, they wouldn’t be calling you for your help. By internalizing that one small piece of information, you will be able to remove those barriers and improve your abilities with customer communication. Just think of it like this. How would you react if you were in their situation? In the grand scheme of things, you would probably react the same. All you need to do is calmly and respectfully control the discussion so that you can move it into a more informative and effective call.

Creating Professional Goals

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When it comes to success, having a strong underlying intrinsic goal will always help cultivate and shape your decisions, your actions, and your thought process each and everyday. But what happens when you have already made significant advances within your career? What goals or objective can you create to help motivate yourself in establishing that consistency that you have worked so hard for all throughout your life? For a few very fortunate people, the answer simply comes to them. But for the rest of us who do not wake up with that goal in place, it takes a little bit of planning in order to clarify and execute for our career goals.

No matter where you are in your career, there should always be a vision and goal within your master plans. As much as we can frivolous live our lives day by day without a care in the world, the reality of it requires these guiding and awe-inspiring ideas to push us to be our best. That is why career goals are important. They are simply the things you want to achieve in your career and the person you are meant to be. While these objectives can be broad, and at times uncertain, they, at the end of the day, provide you with that much-needed direction to the end goals of your career. Think of this like a road map. Rather than wander around aimlessly within your life, your career goals can be your destination for your success.

Now, one thing to point out is the various differences within goals. At one ends we have the broad, ambitious, and overarching goals, which are commonly referred to as conceptual or long-term goals. And on the other end we have the more specific day-by-day task related goals, generally known as operational and short-term objectives. As much as you can have one over the other, it is imperative that you have both. Begin with your long-term goal. This can be something you are looking to accomplish a year (five years, ten years) from now. From that goal alone, you will be able to conceptualize various operational tasks that you will need to accomplish in order for you to reach your long-term goal. For many young professionals, this type of mentality can be beneficial in shaping and molding your career. But what happens if you are already a seasoned veteran within your company? What goals can you establish to motivate yourself each and everyday?

While creating goals as a veteran within your company can oftentimes be challenging, they are, like they were in the beginning of your career, absolutely vital. The worst thing you can do for yourself is to stay stagnate within your job. To prevent this from happening, you need to recreate and articulate a vision statement for your career. The first step is to look back and reflect on all of your success. There is that famous saying: “Sometimes you have to take two-steps back in order to move ten-steps forward.” By having an intrinsic understanding of your career path, you will be able to connect the dots and establish that end goal. Go ask far and question why you made particular jumps and what you want to achieve out of your company.

Now for those who have not reflected, it may seem impractical to start now. Let me tell you, it is never too late to reflect. Reflection, at the end of the day, is the key to learning. This type of thought process will allow you to analyze your experiences and make the necessary changes and modifications to push you to your intended success. For some people, that success is simply getting on the right path. But for others, that long-term goal can require drastic changes and alterations within your life. Whatever is the case, make sure you know what you want. The worst thing you can do to yourself is waste and suffocate your knowledge and talents at a job you distain. Instead, create your goals and most importantly live your dreams.

Young Professionals Looking into Graduate Schools

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For many young professionals, graduate programs such as a Master of Business Administration or a Masters in Finance are seen as viable options in proliferating and diversifying their professional opportunities. While many seasoned professionals may question the two-year hiatus, having these graduate programs as a stepping-stone can oftentimes help you shape and mold your own personal and professional goals. Now before you make your decision, it is imperative that you reflect and internalize these overarching questions below.

Before I begin, I have to note that unlike undergraduate applications, graduate programs like MBAs and Masters in Finance require you to do various preliminary work and research before making the leap into the deep end. In fact, the arduous and elongated process requires a lot of time, dedication, sacrifice, and money before you even reach the finish line of graduation. If you are a young professional who is seriously considering leaving the securities of your already established career, make sure that this is what you want to do. The one situation you do not want to find yourself in is leaving your company without an actual game plan in mind. Now, if you have done your research and feel like now is the time to get one of these degrees, make sure you can ask the following questions:

Why do you want to go to graduate school?

While simple in it’s phrasing, knowing the ‘why’ can be one of the most convoluted answers you will ever respond to during your graduate school application process. In fact, to make sure you are ready to take that leap of faith, you want to solidify strong concrete reasons why graduate school is your best (and only) option. Do not limit yourself to the generic ideas of networking and job opportunities as your explanation. Instead, incorporate your goals and think of various ways of how that specific graduate degree can get you to where you want to be in the future.

What do you want to do with this particular graduate degree?

With an MBA, PhD, or Masters in Finance degree, you have the option to do really anything you want. But before you get those degrees, it is absolutely imperative that you understand what you want to do five, ten, twenty years down the line. To answer this question, go back to your professional goals. Your goals will allow you to create a strong and tangible step-by-step plan that you can implement each and everyday.

What program are you interested in?

There are a variety of graduate school programs that you can go into. While PhD in liberal arts programs can eventually lead to a tenure job at an elite university, you want to make sure your degree can hold a strong amount of value within the workplace. Just think about it. Education is not cheap. Because of this, you want to make sure that your degree can work in your favor. Make sure the program you are interested in is not just something you are passionate about, but also something that is attractive to the job market.

Where do you want to go?

For some people, they go by the name. For others, they go because of the city. Whatever is the case, make sure you are able to consolidate a strong list of schools of where you want to go. While it is nice to have various options, having a list that is oftentimes too large can be incredibly detrimental to your process. Instead limit your list from five to ten schools that adheres to your personal and professional preferences.

Are you financially capable of making this move?

Money, like anything in this world, will always be a factor in whether or not you are able to go to graduate school. Now, depending on your situation, you may be in a position where leaving your job and your financial salary may not be the right decision. You may also very well be in a situation where you do not have the financial funding to make the leap into graduate school. Whatever is the case, make sure you understand the financial cost and financial sacrifice that graduate school is ask from you.

What is one thing that can prevent you from going?

This is an incredible question that not many applicants ask themselves. At times, life can throw you various situations preventing you from reaching your personal and professional goals. If you know there is something that can potentially hold you back from graduate school, make sure you are able to confront it. Otherwise you may find yourself at a dead-end situation.

The Secret to Sales: How to Market to your Client

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No matter what industry you are in, the sales profession continues to move faster and faster each and every day. In a blink of an eye, new competitors emerge and products, especially those similar to yours, are beginning to find their footing within the convoluted market you are working in today. Before you know it, you are far behind.

As much as we can question the new age of consumer products, we first must understand the biggest problem that is impacting the world of sales. Far too often, businesses and organizations make the mistake of assuming that the consumer and client are willing to purchase anything based on its novelty. While that appeal may work for certain products, the approach itself is undeniably short lived. In fact, when it comes to marketing, it is absolutely vital that you market for the customer! This is something I have constantly reiterated to my own sales team. When marketing for a customer, you are targeting your audience. Just think about it. Strong reputable companies did not get to where they are based on faulty hypothetical ‘shot in the dark’ approaches. Instead, they thought strategically and creatively about their products and services and how each one is applicable to the wants and needs of the general public. From there, that information was learned, rehearsed, understood, and translated through the sales department.

Now to be a strong salesperson, you need to always be cognizant of the perspective of your customer and client. For many companies and firms, they usually rely on various scripts that dictate every step of how they should sell and market a product or service. As great as they may be establishing your presence within a call or one-on-one talk with your potential client, you as a salesperson should go above and beyond the script. For the best salespeople, they do not simply rely on the content that is given to them. Instead they adapt and alter their sales pitches in accordance with their prospective customer to further educate and inform them of what your company has to offer.

To start, begin by internalizing the vision and goals of your company. By having this deeper understanding of your company, you will be able to translate the overarching business ideas that can be useful when educating the potential client of during your sales pitch. In addition, utilizing your company’s mission can diversify your company’s service and streamline how and what you do differently from your competitors.

During these pitches, it is imperative that you first and foremost recognize the problem. Many clients and customers go to these businesses because they have a particular problem. In fact, that problem is the ultimate reason why your company was establish in the first place. But to help personalize the message even more, make sure you understand where they are coming from. Gaining a strong holistic idea of the problem they are experiencing will help you sell and rationalize your services to each individual future client.

To further bolster this knowledge, make sure you do your research on other competitors or services that are similar to your company’s products. Having that in your artillery can help you shine once again diversify and differentiate your product and services in the most beneficial way possible. In fact, doing this type of research can offer various insights of the strengths your company has against other competitors.

Now on the calls, it is important that you personify the ideal salesperson. While each individual has their own unique personality and take on the phones, you want to make sure you are well disciplined, charismatic, and resourceful with every client that you are talking to. To start, sales will always and forever be a difficult job. The phrase ‘ABC – Always Be Closing’ may sound easy, but in reality, is an incredibly difficult task. For most cases, this skill usually takes time and practice in order for it to be second nature later on down the line. Because of this, you as a sales person need to be confident. You need to have that unrelenting attitude and approach to go above and beyond in any situation. In addition, you need to exemplify the charisma and trustworthiness charm that can build and establish a connection with your potential prospect. For many customers, they view charismatic salespeople as not just another person on the phone, but someone who they can have a real meaningful professional relationship. Now, to help assist you with this, it is imperative that you are resourceful. Successful sales reps differ from the rest because they reach out and target the potential needs for their customers. That idea of going above and beyond means having information, having the analytics, or having other resources that is helpful in landing a particular deal.

The last thing I can say to help you develop within the field of sales is to be honest and transparent with every client. Regardless of what you are selling, establishing that trust with honest communication is something that will take you to the next level.

Networking at its Finest

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Regardless of your industry, networking will become one of the most important tasks you will do each and every single day. Networking, but definition is a socio-economic business activity by which groups of like-minded businesspeople recognize, create, or act upon business opportunities. To put it in layman terms, it is simply a way for you to connect with a variety of different people from the either the same or different industry or field. While this type of work does take time, the benefits are exponential.

When you are expanding your network, you will often find that this is a very behind the scenes type of task. Connecting with people through a variety of business ventures or events allows you to bridge relationships for you to leverage individually or as a company as a whole. In reality, you never know where these connections can lead you. The best thing to do is to continue creating stronger relationships because at the end of the day, you never know where these connections can take you.

So how does it work? How do you network with professionals? What are the best ways to network for partners, sponsors, and collaborators?

There are a variety of ways to go about this. The most important thing you need to know is that you have to go into each meeting or event to establish that partnership or service. It is that shark-like mentality that will benefit your endeavors and push your professional profile to where it needs to be.

Connect with Your Field or Niche

Networking through a specific field or niche is one of your strongest connections you can immediately make. Whether you do this through LinkedIn, in-person, Facebook, your alma mater events, or through various interest groups, connecting with individuals who have already established themselves in the field can benefit you greatly. The best possible thing you can do in those situations is to ask and share interest. If you are a novice in the field and would like to know more about how to further develop your skills and abilities, be sure to ask questions and pick those experts advice. If, however, you are an expert in the field, establish a connection for future potential partnerships or mentorships. At the end of the day, these connections are something that can be leveraged in the most meaningful way.

Connect Through Mutual Friends or Partners

Especially if you are seeking professional advice, finding those second connections that you can quickly contact can be a huge benefit on your end. Connecting through mutual friends is probably one of the easiest networking you can do for your professional career and business. Having that automatic channel to make that interaction is something you need to leverage and utilize if it is there. Keep in mind that the person you are talking to is still a stranger to you and your business. Make sure that when you talk to them, you are professional and considerate. Provide them a deeper understanding of your objectives, goals, and questions they can assist you with.

Be Goal Oriented

The best networkers are not those with the best profiles. Rather they are the individuals who are incredibly confident, personable, and driven for each and every interaction. When you go into a meeting or an event, be aware of the people around you. Know their backgrounds, histories, and your own personal goals. See how you can translate your goals in the best possible way. If your goal is to gain more information about a specific field, make sure you are walking into that event with that goal in mind. If you are looking to expand sales or create a team, know how to approach individuals and provide a group with the overall facts and logistics of your company. Remember, each conversation is an opportunity. Make the best of it. Do not think of this as a simple meet and greet. Leverage your ideas throughout the conversation by educating and promoting your services and background. Then follow up with how they can attribute to that success.

Be the Showman

Much of networking starts with your personality. At the end of the day, your goal is to be memorable. No matter who you are or what you do, achieving that goal will be a huge win. So how do you do it? How can you be memorable? The best way to be memorable starts off with confidence. It is incredibly difficult to work with an individual who is timid or shy. When you talk to people, be confident in every which way. Make sure you body language represents that too. In addition, be knowledgeable. Knowing yourself, your goals, your visions, your strengths, your weaknesses, and your contribution to your organizations and companies is something people want to hear. Show them that you are an asset. Last but not least, be personable. Make sure you are listening to what they are saying and connect and respond to it.

How to Become a Financial Advisor

 

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As a Florida-based financial advisor for the Miami-Dade, Fort Lauderdale, and Boca Raton areas, getting into this profession was not easy. Financial advisors provide a variety of advice relating to investment strategies, mutual funds, bonds, stocks, and of course retirement plans. Becoming a financial advisor takes a lot of work, but at the end of the day can be a rewarding experience. If you are looking to make this a long-term career, here are some steps that I would advise for you on your path to success.

What should you study?

When entering your undergraduate career, it can be daunting at times to commit to a specific major, especially one a concentration that is for a specific niche. For financial advisors, majors such as fiancé, economics, business, statistics, or similar fields are acceptable in preparing you for your future work. These business background majors will provide you with the foundation and groundwork you are going to need before getting into the business.

Find an Internship

Like every college student, it is important to start building your professional background as much as possible to show diversity and necessary skills for your work experience. As much as academic instructions in the classroom will provide you the foundation for learning, internships or co-op programs will offer opportunities for individuals, especially ones who want to get into finance, to gain real-world experience. It is important for you to also build up your network and forge those relationships or partnerships. This can lead to mentors, letters of recommendation, and even sometimes a possible career opportunity after graduation.

Look for Training Program Opportunities

If possible, try and see if you can enroll and complete a training program for financial advisors. Such programs are incredibly competitive but are worth the work. This will give you the valuable skills and knowledge that will not only prepare you for the licensing exam, but also the job itself. Furthermore, this shows more of a commitment and investment to the career. Keep in mind this is an option step. But having this on your resume can put you in the best possible position especially during an interview.

Certification

Certification is one of the biggest hurdles in the field. Usually this requires specialized training or coursework, an exam, and continuing academic courses. Remember having a professional license is required to engage in this business. The following exams you can take are:

  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
  • Personal Financial Specialist (PFS)
  • Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
  • Charter Financial Analyst (CFA)

Get an Entry Level Job and Build Up Your Work Experience

Once you have passed all of the certification exams and completed all of the previous stated steps, you are now finally eligible to be a financial advisor. Keep in mind that the hours will be long and the work will be tough. Just know that is okay. You are still beginning your career and the learning curve takes time. But do not mistake this ask an excuse to slack off. You want to show both your employer and your clients the work you are capable of and the success that you can produce.